Thursday, May 7, 2015

Coal Region Connections: Coal Region Potato Alternatives


Pierogies are probably the most widely-recognized potato alternative thanks to perogie producers like Mrs. T's & Poppy's. They are a staple at many Christmas Eve Holy Suppers.

Bleenies, also called potato pancakes, are very popular at block parties, church festivals, & firemens' picnics. Do you like your bleenies with catsup, sour cream, or just salt & Pepper? Here's a basic bleenie recipe:

7 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Peel & grate potatoes & drain water. Add grated onion, egg, salt, pepper. Add flour & mix until you get a thick batter. Add milk & beat until mixture looks like waffle batter. Add lemon juice last. Fry in oil until brown. Pat off excess oil with a paper towel before serving.

Loksha, also called baked potato dough, used to be called "stove rags". When folks used coal stoves, they made loksha on top of lids on the stove. Today, most folks prefer to bake loksha. Here's is your loksha recipe:

2 cups mashed potatoes (cooled)
1 cup flour
3/4 tablespoon salt

Do not use leftover mashed potatoes from a previous meal!
Add flour & salt to the mashed potatoes until they are totally absorbed by the potatoes. Knead the dough until it is workable. Divide the dough into 10 "golf-ball size" balls. Roll each ball out on a floured surface to a 1/8" thickness. Place the circle of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet & prick with a fork in several places. Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes on each side. When done, remove from oven & brush each side liberally with melted butter. Roll up like a crepe & serve with sweet cabbage or sauteed sauerkraut. Or for dessert, serve with sweet whipped cream & your favorite fruit.

Potato kugel is also known as potato pudding in the coal region. It may be the least popular of the 4 potato alternatives that we mentioned, but it is still a long-time favorite. Here's another 50+ year old recipe:

10 large potatoes
1 medium onion
5 slices bacon
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup hot milk
3 eggs

Peel & grate fine the potatoes & onion. Cut bacon crosswise into narrow strips. It's easier to cut when frozen. Fry bacon until crisp. Pour the bacon & bacon fat over potatoes & onion. Add hot milk. Add beaten eggs, 1 at a time, along with salt & pepper. Pour into a greased pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 & make for an additional 45 minutes. Remove from oven, cut into squares, & serve hot with sour cream.

So, did the recipes & images below get your hungry? Today's recipes came from the Great Radio Ask Your Neighbor Cookbook Volume 1 that was published in 1974. WLSH Radio & The Carbon-Tamaqua Unit of the American Cancer Society recently did a reprint of that soldout cookbook & about 200 copies still remain. Visit for more information.

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